Northern to face Hawaii Thursday night at 7 in Little League World Series

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 25, 2010 

— Don't tell Northern manager Randy Morris his team has room for error tonight when it plays Hawaii in the Little League World Series.

Northern, the Georgia state champion representing the Southeastern Region, is a perfect 2-0 going into the 7 p.m. ESPN2 game in Lamade Stadium. Hawaii, which lost to Northern 6-2 on Saturday, must beat the Columbus team twice to advance to the United States championship game.

"We want to win it now," Morris said. "We don't want to mess around."

Messing around would be losing Thursday night and forcing the deciding game Friday. Morris does not want to think about the possibility of having to play Friday and use more precious pitching the day before the U.S. championship game.

"We need to get it done, whatever it takes," he said.

Hawaii advanced with a strange 6-4 win Wednesday over Ohio.

The West champions only got one hit -- a three-run homer from Matthew Campos -- but it was the centerpiece of a six-run fourth inning. Ohio had six more hits than Hawaii, but couldn't win.

Morris has most of his pitching staff available tonight.

Only starter Troy Gilliland, who got a complete-game shutout win over Ohio on Tuesday, can't go because of Little League pitch-count rules.

Jacob Pate, who has been Northern's ace throughout the all-star season, went four innings and got the win against Hawaii in what was the tournament opener for both teams. Pate had an excessively high 40 pitches in the first inning. He allowed two earned runs, both coming on a first-inning home run by Ty DeSa. In that game, Pate struck out seven and walked four. Gilliland, who has thrown nine scoreless innings in the World Series, worked the last two innings against Hawaiil.

Northern will likely start Blake Hicks against Hawaii, Morris said.

Hicks, the regular catcher, has not pitched in Northern's first two games. He last pitched on August 9 against North Carolina in the Southeastern Regional. He allowed two runs on two hits in two innings. He finished the region with a 9.0 ERA.

Hawaii manager Brian Yoshii will have his ace Noah Shackles available. Shackles, with a 7.20 World Series ERA, went the distance in the earlier loss to Northern. He allowed three hits and struck out five. Northern left fielder Knox Carter hit a two-run homer off Shackles.

Morris knows what to expect.

"There is no doubt it is going to be another tough game," the Northern manager said.

Yoshii said he is more concerned about his team than Northern.

"I think it all depends on us," the Hawaii manager said. "If we come all out and play with all of our heart we'll be all right. That is all I can ask of them."

Ohio manager Ken has lost to Northern and Hawaii on consecutive days. He gives the edge to the Columbus team.

"Naturally, Georgia is in a better position," Coomer said. "But Hawaii does have its ace available. Both teams are great. But Georgia might have an advantage because they have to lose two."

Pate said he likes his teams chances.

"We have a really good shot," Pate said. "We have seen their ace. And our pitching is set up good."

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